The Views And Experiences Of Physiotherapists On Physiotherapy Service Provision For People With Neurological Conditions In Primary Care: A Qualitative Study
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Physiotherapy is associated with positive health outcomes and is highly valued among community dwelling neurological patients. However, research highlights a deficiency in the quality of physiotherapy services for neurological patients in the community setting in Ireland. Given the significant burden of neurological conditions and the potential of a quality physiotherapy service to alleviate some of this burden, this study explored physiotherapy service provision for neurological patients in primary care with a view to providing a platform of knowledge from which physiotherapy service provision can be optimised.
Aim and objectives: To explore physiotherapists’ views and experiences of physiotherapy service provision for people with neurological conditions in primary care in Ireland.
To identify quality standards, existing services and barriers and facilitators to providing a quality service.
A qualitative strategy employing semi-structured interviews was chosen as this study’s design. Ten primary care physiotherapists were interviewed across four primary care sites. A thematic data analysis was conducted to enable key themes to emerge from the data.
Neurological patients were identified as having distinct needs from the general primary care patient population and physiotherapists reported challenges meeting these needs due to a lack of organisational support. This impacted on patient outcomes and on the physiotherapists in terms of occupational stress. Physiotherapy team work and support from line management were highlighted as support structures which facilitated quality service provision.
Physiotherapists identified a mismatch between the quality ideal and the practice reality of physiotherapy service provision for people with neurological conditions in primary care in Ireland.
Physiotherapists require increased organisational support. There is a need for specialist neurological services to work alongside primary care and primary care physiotherapists require specialised neurological training. Finally, physiotherapy team work and line management support needs to be facilitated as part of physiotherapy services.